Friday, October 9, 2009

Cardinal Antonelli: “Repulse Anti-life ideologies”

Recalling the Holy Father’s inauguration mass homily in which he decried what he described as ‘exporting spiritual toxic waste’ to Africa from the first world, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family Cardinal Ennio Antonelli called on the African church leaders to be vigilant against ideologies spread by reproductive health centres and some media houses all aimed at the destruction and annihilation of the family.

He said that some international institutions and organisations pretend to advocate for the rights of women and children, but they have other hidden agenda in Africa.

Bishop Alfred Adewale Martins of Abeokuta in Nigeria said neo-Pentecostalists have invaded the continent and are busy luring the youth into joining them, away from the Catholic Church.

He appealed to the Church leaders in our continent to ensure that no one was ‘anonymous’ in the parishes and that all should feel belonging to the church.

Bishop Adewale said that there was need to create a ministry in each parish that attended to the concerns and needs of the young executives and professionals targeted by neo-pentecostal groups.

Africa, Land of saints

And Archbishop Angelo AMATO S.D.B, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints described Africa as a land of saints.

Recalling the heroism of the Martyrs of Uganda, the wisdom of St Augustine and the witnessing of St Giuseppina Bakhita and many others, all sons and daughters of our continent, Archbishop called on the church leaders to promote more heroic witnesses to the faith in Africa.

22 nations in Africa have 44 beatifications and canonizations in process, 13 Blesseds, 4 venerables and 27 servants of God, among them being Mwalimu Julius Kabarage Nyerere from Tanzania.

Meanwhile, the delegates attending the synod have written a letter of solidarity to the Archbishop and people of war torn region of Bukavu, a letter that was read out at the start of Thursday’s Synod sessions.

On Wednesday, this week, the Archbishop of Bukavu, DR Congo, Mons. Francois Xavier Maroy Rusengo had appealed for solidarity and support from the delegates for his wounded diocese.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Stand up for prophetic mission, African church told

Bishop Louis Portella Mbuyu of Kinkala and Chairman of the Episcopal Conference of the Republic of Congo has called on the church in Africa to rediscover her prophetic voice.

Addressing an audience of 244 Synod fathers this morning, the Ordinary cautioned that when overwhelmed by so many injustices and exploitations, the church might stop being moved by this and become used to it, no longer speak and thus abdicating her role as the "voice of those without voice".

Bishop Mbuyu said that the church could only offer this prophetic mission if she herself was a ‘reconciled community’.

He said that the church must always be the base where reconciliation is always present.

Meanwhile, Rome is all ready for the recitation of the Rosary with the Holy Father For Africa and With Africa.

The Holy father will lead in this special prayer and be joined by various university students live via satelite on Saturday starting at 6pm Kenyan time.

Students from many universities, including the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, CUEA are expected to participate.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Archbishop recounts war atrocities in DR CONGO

Archbishop of Bukavu in the DRC Mons Francois Xavier Maroy Rusengo today gave a moving testimony of the effects of war in his archdiocese.

He spoke of the traumatic experiences of ravaging war and called on the synod fathers to come up with a message of solidarity with the wounded people of Bukavu.

He told the attentive audience of the burning of parishes, attack and kidnapping of priests and the heavy ransoms the diocese has had to pay to secure release of the priest.

He further asked for special attention to be given to the youth but establishment of joint recreational and cultural activities that would favour true reconciliation.

Environment destruction

From the West Africa, Bishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji of Umuahia, Nigeria, strongly castigated the multinationals who exploit natural resources in Africa mindless of the future generations and their livelihood.

He called this a ‘reckless exploitation of the environment’ which would impact negatively on the African continent and threaten any meaningful prospects of peaceful living in the region.

The bishop denounced the destruction of environment in Africa, further calling the Church in Africa to stimulate what he called ‘ecological conversion’ through intensive education.

“The church must spearhead the fight against environmental degradation in order to ensure that the future generations live in an intact and healthy environment,” he said.

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Cardinal Walker: Fragmentation against Christian unity

Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity has expressed concern over the 'increasingly deepening fragmentation among Christians'.

Though not exclusively an African problem, he pointed out that it is historically entrenched in the continent through the legacy of the "divided Christianity that Africa received".

He said that rapid growth of charismatic and Pentecostal churches has presented a new challenge to any meaningful dialogue due to what he termed as ‘their aggressive behaviour and low theological standards’.

“It is time the church in general and Africa in particular asked itself, not what is wrong with them, but what is wrong or what is deficient with our own pastoral work,” he said.

Cardinal Walter challenged the Synod Fathers to engage in positive dialogue with other faiths in pursuit for unity, singling out strong Small Christian Communities as a basis for true and meaningful ecumenical dialogue.

Human Trafficking

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa, Berhaneyesus Demerew SOURAPHIEL called on the Synod on Africa to address the root causes of human trafficking, the displaced persons and the abused domestic workers, refugees and migrants and to come up with "concrete positions and proposals to show to the world that African lives are sacred and not cheap" as the media may try to wrongly show.

He urged on the Holy See to appoint a permanent representative to the African Union (AU) whose headquarters are in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as an observer in the African forum.

He suggested for a similar appointment from the Symposium for Episcopal Conferences in Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), to further articulate the Catholic voice in the AU.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cardinal Wamala decries ‘mild dictatorship’ in Africa

As the ongoing Synod gathered momentum in Rome, different Synod fathers from different countries continued making their interventions today.

Each member was given fives minutes to make a presentations to the over 250 delegates gathered in the hall who included Pope Benedict XVI who attentively followed all the interventions.

Polycarp Cardinal Pengo of Tanzania and chairman of SECAM described it as unfortunate that many years after Christianity came to Africa, the Church here is still dependent on external donors for its material survival. He called on all the African religious leaders to make the church more self reliant materially.

He saw greed, selfishness and ethnicity as the root causes to our many problems in Africa.

Focusing on the social context of our continent, Emanuel Cardinal Wamala, Archbishop Emeritus of Kampala said though the great growth that has been witnessed in our continent, the new form of ‘mild dictatorship’ is sweeping across Africa, disguised by new leaders who have come to replace the old ones. He said that there was urgent need to evangelize even those in politics because in many of our countries, God is missing.

Bishop Sithembele Anton Sipuka of Umtata Diocese in South Africa said racial challenges are so serious that they are affecting even recruitment in the seminaries. He said that the whites in his diocese were not at ease being together with their black colleagues.

Recognizing the great work done by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and that there was a leap forward in majority rule, however, the bishop said many injustices still exist.

More sessions are underway with Cardinal John Njue later in the evening chairing the Commission for Information.

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Orthodox Church Patriarch: "African is endowed"

The Patriarch of Orthodox Church in Ethiopia His Holiness Abuna Paulus (Pictured, right) described Africa as a land wealthy endowed with diversity of people and a rich cultural heritage to offer.

In his address to the Synod of Bishops for Africa that is going on in the Vatican, the Head of Orthodox Church in Ethiopia who attended the synod by invitation of the Catholic church appreciated the generosity of our continent as a land where refugees have always found a home with many including Jesus coming to our land, in search for hospitality.

The patriarch however lamented the brain drain of the people of Africa and the consequent continued dependency on the West economically, politically and socially.

On Justice, reconciliation and peace, which is the main theme of the Synodal meeting, Patriarch Abuna Paulus regretted the many civil wars fought on our Continent, while denouncing the use of child soldiers caught in the war of adults. He appealed to the church leaders to speak out in unity to oppose the use of child soldiers anywhere and everywhere in our continent.

“Work for Peace”

He urged all religious leaders to work for peace and to protect the natural resources.

Asking the religious leaders to exercise their particular responsibilities given to them by God, Patriarch Paulus asked all team up in curbing religious extremism in our land.

Pope Benedict XVI who was seated next to the patriarch during the address prayed that the churches should remain close and be a society of integrity and solidarity. He expressed gratitude to the Patriarch of Ethiopia for accepting the invitation to attend the Synod.

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Synod calls for permanent evangelization

By Fr. Martin Wanyoike, Vatican

The first official day of business begun at the Vatican in the ongoing Synod of Bishops for Africa.

The Synod Fathers gathered in the synod hall had the opening prayers led by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI who later sat through the first sessions.

Archbishop Nikola ETEROVIC Secretary General of the Synod then read the opening speech in which he listed the numerous growth of the Church in Africa. He paid tribute to a number of people whom, since the last synod, 15 years ago, have sealed the ecclesial service with ultimate sacrifice of their lives.

He hoped that the outcome of the Synod’s discussions would translate into initiatives of pastoral activities in evangelizations, human promotion, especially in reconciliation justice and peace.

And Cardinal Peter Kodwo. Appiah Turkson of Cape Coast, Ghana, described the second synod as a continuation of the first. He saw the challenge of the church as a family of God in Africa as still an urgent matter for us all to address.

He explored various challenges facing the church today. “The church in Africa must truly be the salt of the earth and light of the world, he said, adding that there is urgent need for deep and permanent evangelization.

Family under attack

While addressing the press after the morning session, Card Turkson lamented the numerous attacks against the family in the continent and hoped that the synod would seek to strengthen this marriage institution.

The synod enters day 3 with more presentations and later the synod fathers going into discussion groups.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

SYnod Of Bishops Opens In ROME

By Fr. Martin Wanyoike, Vatican

The second special assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops was finally inaugurated at the St Peters Basilica by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in the presence of 239 Synod Fathers from all across the African continent.

Speaking at the inauguration mass animated by a Congolese Choir together with the Sistine Chapel choir, His Holiness Benedict XVI recalled with great nostalgia his recent experience in the African continent of a people with a great treasure of faith and resources. The pontiff saw Africa as a continent of faith and hope.

However, the Holy Father pointed saw materialism as an ailment in the west that is already infecting the people of Africa. He lamented that the first world had continued to ‘export’ spiritual toxic waste that continued to contaminate the people of our continent. He cited that while colonialism was over politically, it still continued to manifest itself in other areas in Africa.

The pontiff went on to warn of a new ‘virus’ that could hit Africa, namely religious fundamentalism, mixed with political and economic interests. He lamented the spread of this virus with people teaching and preaching not love and respect for freedom but intolerance and violence.

Appreciating the dynamism of faith in our continent, the Pope prayed that the church in Africa would always be a family of true disciples of Christ where the difference between the different ethnic groups becomes a reason for mutual human and spiritual enrichment. He said that though there is poverty, injustice, violence and wars in many countries in Africa, the Church in Africa can give a great contribution to the human family.

Entrusting the proceedings of the synod to the care of Our Lady of Africa, and to the African saints, and to the intercession of St Francis of Assisi whose feast day was observed on Sunday 4th October, 2009, (the inauguration day for the synod), the Holy Father formally inaugurated the special assembly.

The synod begins its sittings today on Monday 5th October, 2009.

The Kenyan delegation is led by His Eminence John Cardinal Njue and has Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth, Archbishop Boniface Lele, Archbishop Peter Kairu, Bishop Philip Sulumeti, and Bishop Martin Kivuva.

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